(Reuters) - The amount of public Internet hotspots (Wi-Fi) globally will grow more than fourfold to 5.8 million by 2015, boosted by consumers increasing demand for connections on smartphones and tablets, an industry study showed on Wednesday.
Telecom operators see Internet hotspots crucial for offloading wireless data traffic, which is expected to grow 26-fold in the next five years, according to Cisco, as usage of video on mobile devices surges.
The study by research firm Informa was commissioned by telecom industry lobby The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).
"The findings show we are about to enter the golden age of public Wi-Fi with hotspot deployments set to soar," WBA Chairman Chris Bruce said in a statement.
China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, plans to deploy a million hotspots and Japan's second largest mobile carrier KDDI plans to grow its 10,000 Wi-FI hotspots to 100,000 within six months.
"Fixed operators are extending broadband services beyond the home and office, and Wi-Fi is supporting busy mobile broadband networks," said Bruce, who is also chief executive of BT's Openzone.
Reporting By Tarmo Virki; Editing by Phil Berlowitz